NOTE: I am posting some pictures of rescues from this year that have been adopted. This is just a smattering of cats I've rescued this year... Remember, I've rescued over 80, just 40 or so pictures here.. I could spend all day...
There is so much for me to be thankful for. First and foremost are my donors. Second, are the food donations I receive from friends and those I don't even know .. Third are my fosters, and lastly my adopters! Without 1, 2, 3, and 4, I could not do what I am doing. And doing so for over 30 years. Burnout? Oh God yes. I haven't had a day off since knee surgery. Then I had to pay someone to do my route and I am very very grateful. This was ... three years ago? Imagine having to get up every single morning of your life, in the dark, and go out to the car, sometimes in frigid weather, sometimes in rain and snow storms, and drive a few miles to feed the cats. Every. Single. Day.
I have 24 colonies, six of which Esther volunteers to do, and we do this every other day. On the days in between, I still go out to two spots, one on Parsells Avenue, where the cats there has no shelter because of the despicable human beings that live there and won't allow a shelter anywhere, and the other on Fourth Street and Central Avenue, where there is a colony of cats that I feed under a church van that hasn't been used in years. I have shelters hidden behind the fence on the vacant lot next door, but this is where I feed them daily. Here, there is an evil person who comes along EVERY SINGLE DAY and removes the water and food. There is no reason for this, it's just pure evil. To take the water away from the cats on 90-degree days is utterly cruel.
My main goal when I started this long ago, was to rescue the adult cats I saw on the side of the streets, eating garbage and just trying to survive. Most were strays, and those that people left behind as they continued their journey of moving from house to house with Section 8 assistance. But in the past years, there has been an influx of kittens. And my name is now, unwantedly, on a list that is given out by veterinarians, and other rescues no less, of being of assistance. I get calls and emails asking for help to rehome, to help the kittens in the backyard, to help the injured, to help with everyone else's problems. I sometimes pass on these requests to Kristin who doesn't have the heart to ignore them, whereas I am totally overwhelmed by the rescued animals I am already dealing with.
I have treated two kittens this year that have cost me a total of $3,000. One was at the rip-off Green Acres in Buffalo because we had no other emergency locations to take cats to in Rochester. The reason for that is because of staff shortages and greedy corporations.
From the streets, I have rescued close to 80 cats this year, with the help of fosters first, and then getting them adopted. My vet bills are insane. I am paying $1,000 + per MONTH at Rochester Community Animal Clinic. Their prices have risen and I lose money with adoption fees because most times, the animals need to be seen for one reason or another and those visits are on average $200+ The food to feed these cats:
This is twice a week. Over $300 to order food for me and food for Esther.
You ask, how long can this go on? My friends and mom tell me all the time to give it up, but how can I do that? Cats literally RUN to my truck. They know the sound and they know my voice. They cannot eat on their own. Contrary to what others believe, they can't live on mice, garbage, etc.
I am doing my best, but I need help doing it. Please consider donating to my rescue today, tomorrow on Giving Tuesday, or when you have a spare dollar. I accept food donations also and am happy to send my address so that it can be delivered, or personally delivered by you.
One last note, thank you to my paid volunteers who go out with me time after time, and those who had to take a break. If I could pay more I would do it. Since I broke my ankle (while feeding cats!) four years ago, my balance isn't great, so cannot trek the vacant lots anymore.
Please give from the heart what you can tomorrow, Giving Tuesday.
Have a great day!
PS, My website needs updating!